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Drive on its last legs, what to do?

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I have a seagate 7200.8 400 gb drive on its last legs. I heard it seeking excessively, so I checked the SMART attributes and found the seek error rate dropped from 100 to 80 in a matter of hours.

I routinely backup my drive to another one using "casper". I decided to backup the drive one last time and swap it out. Unfortunately casper crashed midway through the backup.

The old drive is still recogonized, but probably on its last legs.

What are my options now? Is there a way to find out how far the backup went through? The disk has two partitions, it would be useful to know if the backup made it through the system partition.

Whats the "safest" way to get data off the old drive? Could seek errors be caused by a bad head? If so, should I have the drive opened (in a clean room ofcourse) and have the head inspected and replaced?

Money is no object.

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The "safest" way is a professional data recovery service, since cost is no object. You can see if the system partition was copied by booting from the copy you already made. Anything that wasn't copied is not on the copied disk, since you have overwritten the previous backup partition.

Personally I'd get a third drive and try copying again, before sending it out.

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I sent it to a local data recovery place with a clean room yesterday. I want to discuss strategies with them today.

I'm concerned that the disk will hard crash if they try copying again. Since the backup didn't fully finish, the backup drive may be corrupted as well, leaving me with nothing.

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Turns out the original drive, while sick, was good enough to get the data off of it. But the backup drive was bad/ Halfway through the drive, there was a "demagentized" area. Thats why my attempt to backup failed.

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